A signature J.Crew outfit — complete with a shirt, sweater, coat, trousers, and shoes — is carefully considered, but appears effortless. That's what's so intriguing about the brand's signature styling: there's a method to the "polished madness." In order to strike that perfect balance you see on the mannequins when you walk in the store or on the company's Instagram page, you've got to be open to trial and error.
We talked to J.Crew's head stylist, Gayle Spannaus, who painted a very pretty picture for us when we asked her about the look. "I always like to start with a classic white shirt, a stripe, and a piece of denim. Those are the building blocks!" So what comes next? Mixing. "It's tom girl style, mixing high with low, feminine with masculine, and trendy with evergreen. We always say 'the magic is in the mix,'" Gayle explained.
All it takes is throwing on, say, a splashy pattern with stripes and a ruffled skirt, then seeing how it all comes together. Too many colors? Break them up with a neutral tailored coat. Too simple? Tie a bright cardigan around the waist of your jeans. Read on for even more inspired tips, and shop some J.Crew separates while you're at it to help you achieve the highly coveted look that former Creative Director Jenna Lyons made famous.